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Bacon Salt

Bacon SaltSomeone once asked me if I “cheated” as a vegan with bacon. With everyone gushing over all things bacon these days, that would be an easy assumption. I love smoky and salty flavors, but my true weakness is pepperoni. Yes, mechanically-separated, processed-to-hell-and-back pepperoni. Turkey pepperoni in particular. The regular version is too greasy. Don’t ask me to explain the inconsistency of my “standards”.

The kind and supportive folks at the Vegan Meetup Group assured me that craving such disastrously-processed foods is normal, that those flavors are still programmed into my brain, and eventually the allure of processed meat will fade. Highly-engineered processed foods know how to push all the right buttons, because they were designed that way. It’s difficult to repress our primal cravings for sugar, fat, and salt. And did you know that the casein in cheese acts just like an opiate in the brain? It’s also been called one of the most relevant cancer promoters ever discovered. A lot of vegetarians say they could never give up cheese, and I understand the allure. I was one of them, too. Or maybe I still am. Cheese may always be a temptation.

Bacon Salt ad campaign: zombie housewife. This pic is all win.Knowing how highly-processed pepperoni is, but also how much I like that smoky and salty flavor, I picked up some Bacon Salt. It seemed like a joke. And yes, I know it’s highly processed. “Everything should taste like bacon” the tagline claimed. We tried it, liked it, and occasionally used it. I used to eat it on scrambled eggs. I have added it to split pea soup in place of ham.

Now I’ve discovered that the Hickory, Peppered, Applewood, and Mesquite varieties are vegan. All varieties are kosher, which seems hilariously wrong. I’ve had Hickory and Peppered, and the Peppered can be quite spicy if you overdo it. Unfortunately, all varieties contain MSG and traces of hydrogenated fat. Not so good, but I don’t plan to eat the whole bottle at once.

I like it on scrambled tofu and sprinkled over steamed or sauteed green beans. And I really like J&D’s new ads, featuring zombie 50s housewives.

Finds: ZerGüt Peppetizer

“Finds” are products I like enough to recommend. I haven’t been paid to write about them, nor have I obtained them as free samples (unless specified).

ZerGüt Peppetizer is a chunky spread with a thick salsa-like consistency. It’s made from crushed roasted peppers, roasted eggplant, tomatoes, and onions. All pronounceable ingredients here. It is mild and not spicy (to my taste), and would probably not be considered “hot” to anyone except those used to very bland foods. The label indicates it is medium spicy, but I don’t think so. (It is also available in a “hot” version.)

Despite the eggplant, it’s not exactly baba ghanoush. The pepper flavors predominate. Everything tastes deliciously roasted.

I’ve used Peppetizer as a sandwich spread, mixed it with some Vegenaise to dress a pasta salad, and eaten it with crackers. It would be great on a veggie burger, or with falafel.

World Harvest (my favorite local ethnic food store) as well as some other stores, offer several brands of similar spreads, but this one is my favorite. Some others I’ve tried were too briny or had too much vinegar. ZerGüt Peppetizer’s predominant flavors are definitely peppers and eggplant.

If you’re looking for a break from traditional chip-and-dip offerings, pick up some ZerGüt Peppetizer and whole grain tortilla chips.